Church divided over military intervention in Middle East

RELIGIOUS LEADERS proved divided over the possibility of military intervention in Iraq and Syria as they met to discuss a state of emergency in the region.

The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby said there were mixed views within the Church of England over whether the UK should send troops to tackle the persecution of Christians in the Middle East.

Despite being unable to reach a definitive stance on the subject of intervention, leaders were united in a call for the Government to work with the international community to safeguard and provide humanitarian relief to the thousands suffering violence, including those from other religious minorities.

Mr Welby said: “From the views we’ve had, there’s a mixture of views, I don’t think people are of one mind about that.

“We are aware that history has not been totally encouraging in that area.

“There are a mixture of views, some people feel that there needs to be more intervention at least to buy some time.

“Others feel that would be wholly unhelpful.”

The Archbishop spoke ahead of an inter-faith vigil held outside Westminster Abbey yesterday, where Muslim, Jewish and Christian leaders gathered to show their support to all minorities suffering in Iraq.

“We are seeing an extreme religious ideology that knows no limits in its persecution of those who are culturally or religiously different,” added Mr Welby.

“Those who promote this intolerance must be challenged.”